Health Minister fails to appear in Parliament to address vaccine shortages

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, did not appear in on Tuesday, February 28, after being invited to explain issues concerning vaccine shortages in parts of Ghana.

The Clerk of Parliament's Health Committee had sent a letter requesting the Minister's presence to provide an update on measures put in place to address the vaccine shortage.

The Health Committee also invited the heads and relevant officers of institutions such as the , the Authority, the Global Fund, the , and the Vaccine Control Programme to attend the emergency meeting.

The absence of the Minister of Health drew anger from the committee members, who expressed their disappointment at the situation.

Muntaka Mubarak, the Member of Parliament for Asawase and a member of the Health Committee, criticised the Minister's failure to attend the emergency meeting.

In his words, “the Minister of Health being invited to the Committee of Parliament, he himself being a Member of Parliament having in mind the provisions of the 1992 Constitution and the ranking member following up with even a call a week before the meeting, and the matter in question is the time that elsewhere Parliament would invite the minister within 24-hours and he has to appear because of its urgency.”

Mubarak continued, “Now, you have a Minister of Health who for me, for lack of a better word, I will say disrespectfully refused to attend to the invitation of the committee. It tells you how he is running the Ministry, it is just unfortunate that we have a government where a lot of its actors are behaving as though they are doing the citizens a favour by occupying those offices, instead of them attending to the urgent needs of their ministry.”

Mubarak stressed the significance of the expanded programme on immunization and its importance to the country's health.

He added that “every other thing can wait but not the expanded programme on immunization because the six or so killer diseases, ones you don't get immunized in a certain period you endanger all of us because this is something the children will miss, and you cannot easily correct.”

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